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Ten Painless Ways To Save More Money

Sep 2, 2008
Today's high gas prices are giving many of us added incentive to go out there and find ways to reduce our spending in order to be able to balance our budgets and reach our financial goals (even if said financial goal is simply survival). But some money-saving measures are harder to implement than others, thus easier to fall by the wayside once we decide we "deserve" to be living comfortably. In this spirit, here's a list of 10 relatively painless ways to save money. They're painless and easy to implement, which makes them easier to stick to, and this way your money-saving plan has a better chance of standing the test of time.

Finance

Online banking is everywhere, use it. Keep track of your bank balance and avoid overdraft fees. If you use your frequently dip into your checking account or have some bills that are on automatic withdrawal from that account, make use of online banking to know what your balance is and avoid paying those hefty overdraft charges.

Avoid ATM fees. Call your bank or better yet, drop by or visit their website to know what they charge for ATM withdrawals. Some banks waive fees for all ATM transactions on any ATM machine, but most don't. So it's in your best interests to only withdraw money from ATM machines where your bank will not charge the fees, or withdraw directly at your bank.

Automate your savings. The very first thing you should do is direct deposit your paycheck. Since your money goes right into your account, you shift your decision-making from "how much money should I deposit" to "how much money should i withdraw". That's an entirely different dynamic. Odds are, you'll be more reluctant to withdraw too large an amount and you're likely to end up with less cash in hand and more in the bank. The second thing to do is to automatically set an amount that's to be deducted from your checking account to a savings that shouldn't be touched unless there's an emergency.

Home

Regulate your electric use.: When not in use, unplug electric appliances. Read up on standby power consumption and vampire appliances and you'll realize that, for example, unplugging the TV instead of just switching it off can save a lot of electricity! When leaving a room, switch off the lights and the fan. Use a programmable thermostat to control your A/C and heater usage. If you use it to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you'll lower your heating bills by 10 percent. A $50 digital thermostat can pay for itself in energy savings in less than a year. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, they use 75% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

Shopping

Make a list before going shopping to eliminate (or at least curb) impulse buying. Without a list it's possible that you'll buy items that you don't need, while forgetting to purchase the actual item you do need. So you should definitely make a list before you go grocery shopping. Get everything you need in one trip and avoid additional unnecessary trips and temptations.

Go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry. The less time you have, the more likely you are to just go in, grab what you need, and be on your way. With the guidance of your list, there will be very little occasions for you to deviate from what you actually need.

Buy generic products whenever possible. It doesn't really matter whether your cereal or milk is the store brand. Depending on your personal tastes, you might want to stick to brand names for particular products, but for others, generic store brands will save you money. Find what works for you and switch to generic brands for at least a part of your grocery list. No-name-brand toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, paper cups, plastic wrap, plastic bags, etc., are all available at half the price of similar name-brand products when you buy them in bulk.

Realize your rebates. Save the money you get from rebates, shopping sales or using coupons and club cards at grocery stores. Grocery stores make this easy by printing on the receipt exactly how much you saved. You can transfer that exact amount to a savings account or, if you still write checks, you can make one out for the amount of the savings and deposit that -- or simply round up.

Entertainment

If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 6:00 pm. Instead of paying ~$10 a pop for the ticket, you can go before 6:00pm when the tickets are a little less expensive. For movies that you don't absolutely want to watch right away, just wait until it screens on a discount theater where the tickets are $2 a pop.

Earning Power

Ask for a raise. If you do get it, it goes without saying that the additional income you receive should be go straight from direct deposit to your savings account or investment like 401(k). Also, prepare some sort of work-related justification of why you deserve a raise. Just wanting to save more money won't be enough for your boss.

Of course, those are merely suggestions, as there are literally hundreds of different ways to save money, some easier to realize than others. All you have to remember when trying to save money is to turn it into a habit that you'll try to incorporate into everything you do, on a daily basis. Those dollars saved here and there will quickly add up.
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